What can I say to my mom who wants to stay home alone but can't? - AgingCare.com

What can I say to my mom who wants to stay home alone but can't?


Mom has dementia. She is very able and cares for herself. She does have early morning and night time delusions and hallucinations. She has short term memory loss and is easily flustered or confused. She experiences manic and paranoid episodes. She recently started seroquel and the problems are a little better, less fear, less paranoia but not gone. She has lived alone for one week. Four out of the seven days she required one of us to come and stay with her. Prior to this she had my sister living here and my dad but he has passed. Even with dad here she required frequent rescue.
We are ready to place her in assisted living. The neuro psych doctor says that she needs 24/7 supervision. I am waiting on the finalization of guardianship of her.
Here is my question, she asks why can't she live alone? Who has she hurt or what harm has it done? Besides the fact that the we can't keep up this pace I have no answer except for what could happen. When I tell her what could happen she says well when that happens I'll go to assisted living. If I say we need some peace, she says "dont come when I call". She calls up to 20 times a day and says things like "theres a man in my house". We have tried in the past having her live with us, none of us is willing again because of the manic and paranoia episodes. When she argues to live alone I get wore down and feel like walking away from all this, but I know I can't. We have found the most lovely assisted living and I have visited many. We want the best for her. She desires activity but lives in the country and of course cannot drive. We entertain her and transport her now since this all started.

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My husband often insisted that he "did not need a babysitter" when I left the house. I eventually responded this way:

Of course you don't need a babysitter! You are an experienced, intelligent adult. You've taken care of your self for decades. I'm not worried about you ... I'm worried that Lewy might show up and then you would need some help. Neither of us knows when/if that might happen, so for my peace of mind I don't want to leave you alone. I have complete confidence in you, but Lewy is a trouble-maker!"

He had Lewy Body Dementia and was not in denial of that fact. We both referred to the dementia as "Lewy" and laid blame where it was due, on the disease.
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I have seen it many times. Been through it myself. Mom was starting to show little signs of dementia and she has a lymphatic leg from a prior cervical cancer surgery. She was living in the same two story 4 bedroom house I grew up in by herself. I used to lay in bed at night picturing her going up the stairs, after having her usual glass or two of wine, and falling down the stairs. Nobody there to help. I got her a safety device to wear around her neck just in case but she refused to wear it. I had to be realistic. Told Mom I was really worried about her and it was really affecting my peace of mind. Long story short, she lives with me now. I felt it best to deal with it before her brain got worse so she would not be so confused about the choices she had to make.
I then started a new career in caregiving so I knew how to handle her as she advanced. I had a lot of clients whom I strongly felt should not be living on their own but were stubborn at the idea of going anywhere. Sometimes you just have to do what is necessary whether they like it or not. It would worry me about the clients I had, same worry I had about Mom. Maybe talk about a "retirement community" instead of "assisted living" so it sounds a bit more appealing? Tell her you worry for her safety because you love her and would not want to "find her" if something went wrong.
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Thank you. All good answers. No no UTI, and we have done tons of testing. Meds were checked too. Mom is also refusing any home care, and stopped all nurses from coming. One of us sees her each day but still get the panic calls at night yet we can't get her to come spend the night. We are all exhausted. Counting on the guardianship which could be another month or more.
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With dementia in the picture you are not ever going to convince her she can't live alone. I think you'll have to fib a little. Mom, this is temporary, we are going out of town etc. Then just keep it going till she has settled in. My dad has dementia. He won't agree to ANYTHING much less moving to memory care which is his next stop. I'll,have to tell some pretty tall tales to get him there and be ready for anything.

Cmag is right, she may be ready for more than assisted living, and guardianship can make it happen, no questions asked. But still, try and tell her something she wants to hear.
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Dear MichiganOwl,

I'm so sorry, I know its hard to see your mom in this condition. So many elders wants to stay home as long as possible, but they fail to see the impact on their adult children. It is a sad cycle. We are all doing the best you can.

I would check with her doctor about her meds. For some seniors the side effects can be devastating.

I'm sure your mom already knows, but tell her you love her and only want her to be safe and well cared for. Her care is escalating and its better to take control instead of waiting for something to happen. The stress is too much for the both of you.
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Once you are awarded guardianship, she must go wherever you tell her to go. Her situation sounds to me as if Assisted Living might not be as much supervision as she needs but I'm not sure only a doctor could really say.
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Has Mom been checked for an Urinary Tract Infection as that can cause manic and paranoia episodes?

It is so really tough whenever we have a parent who insist they can live on their own, when we know we ourselves are ready to crash and burn from exhaustion. Our parents are in denial.

What to say to Mom, that isn't easy. Only thing I can think of is that she might fall and lay on the floor for days. And by the time you find her, it might be too late. That might be a good time to ask Mom about what type of funeral services she would like. That may or may not be a wake-up call for her.

My parents were also in denial, thinking they could live by themselves. No caregivers. No strangers in the house. I was getting exhausted. Oh how I wished I would have set boundaries from the very beginning, but I didn't know I could until I found this forum.

Start learning to say "sorry, I just can't do that" when Mom needs to have something done [that isn't urgent]. We have to learn to stop enabling our parents to keep living their lifestyle while we have to change our own.
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